The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Measures taken by Sheriff's Department improve Courthouse Security
By Sally Day for the Quill
Henderson County Sheriff Steve Haynes was on hand at the Monday, August 13, 2013 meeting of Henderson County, and explained to the board that Livingston County, Illinois, has donated four squad cars to this county. Livingston County, where Pontiac is the county seat, has already had their county board meeting and agreed to this gift. They also decided to place "Henderson County" on the sides of the squad cars.
The squads, 2010 and 2011 Chevrolet Impalas, are also equipped with cameras, at a cost of about $4,000. Another item they have are light bars. Henderson County Sheriff's Department will have to purchase radios.
The Sheriff's Department has seven cars on the road, including the Sheriff's car. Also licensed for use in this county are a boat and a truck to tow the rescue boat, and three older vehicles used for the auxiliary and other needs.
Sheriff Haynes noted that Livingston County has also given us an x-ray machine to be used for court security and loaned us walk-thru metal detector for the same use. The sheriff and the county board are very grateful for these donations and will put them to good use. Sheriff Haynes has also hired Wendell Booton of Stronghurst as a part-time Court Security Officer. Board member Terry Meyer said, "There should be a man on there five days a week." Officer Booton sits in the foyer of the courthouse and will tell people they must not bring cell phones, as well as weapons, into the courthouse.
Dave Clark, Security Consultant for Per Mar Security Services, of Burlington, Iowa, was present at the board meeting to tell board members about his company. He told board members there were a couple of ways they could go and it would be up to the board to make that decision.
A letter was read from States Attorney Scott McClintock to the board members. A portion of the letter was dedicated to thanking Sheriff Haynes and his Secretary Teresa Boock for all the diligence they have shown in getting these security measures set in place.
It was also learned that the Henderson County Sheriff's Deputies seized a 2004 Buick Rendezvous from a DUI/DWLR arrest. According to Sheriff Haynes, this offense qualified for seizure and forfeiture and the vehicle was awarded to the Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff Haynes told board members that since June 1, 2013, Henderson County Deputies have written five DUI's, arrested three on drug related charges, issued 102 speeding tickets, seven tickets for Driving While License Suspended, and seventy other miscellaneous tickets, ranging from Domestic charges, Criminal Damage to Property, and Reckless Driving. The department has also handled 1566 incidents since June 1, which has required a Deputy to respond or take a report and has handled forty four accidents and assisted in at least six which were handled by the State Police. In conclusion Sheriff Haynes said, the Investigator has investigated approximately twenty two different incidents and resulted in about eight arrests from those investigations.
In a discussion pertaining to the audit, board members were told of concerns in the budget, but none of these findings warranted warnings in writing. Expressing these concerns was Dennis Koch, an independent auditor. He related to the board members that working with county employees was easy and very pleasant.
Included in these concerns was a lawsuit against the county over the 2008 flood. He noted that if the county loses this lawsuit it would be a significant loss of monies. He continued by saying the department heads are responsible for submitting a reasonable budget each year, and that each fund has to be balanced. Some of the concerns had been findings for the past four years. "Some things look good on paper, but don't really work in the real world," Koch said.
Board member Bob Peterson noted, "We probably need to hire an outsider to help us work through this." The board approved the FY2012 Audit, unanimously.
In other business, the board: